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Love for the game of tennis

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Love for the game of tennis | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Travis Bertram, 30, from Seattle, Washington, USA, is the new tennis director for Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club (TSLC). Having come through the ranks at leading tennis management company Peter Burwash International, Travis will develop TSLC’s new tennis academy. Speaking to the Phuket Gazette, Travis talks about his profession and hopes for tennis in Phuket.

What drew you to tennis?

My mom and dad played tennis in the 80s. My dad and my younger brother got into it after a trip to John Gardiners Tennis Ranch in Carmel, California. They started watching Wimbledon and the professional game caught my interest. I liked the variety of styles the players had because it reminded me of snowboarding and how each snowboarder has their signature style.

When and where did you start playing tennis?

I started playing tennis the summer before my 20th birthday in 2000. I started playing in a local park with my dad and brother in Seattle. Then we joined a small indoor club. Then took lessons from a college tennis player attending the University of Washington.

Did you play any other sports?

My dream was to be a professional snowboarder. I was certified at Whistler Mountain in Canada to be a snowboard instructor at the age of sixteen. I enjoyed all sports growing up – basketball, soccer, Tae Kwon Do. But I was really into snowboarding and skateboarding. I fell while snowboarding and dislocated my shoulder and hip and was told not to participate in any sports because of the nature of my injuries. I had to be really careful.

What was your first competition win?

My first tennis tournament win was in mixed doubles in college. My friend and I won the open division. I always enjoyed mixed doubles because of the male/female dynamic and thought it was great that there was a fun way to play mixed sports.

When and how did you catch the coaching bug?

I started teaching tennis after less than a year playing. I met a coach I liked, finally someone who would teach me the one handed backhand (everyone tried to get me to play two hands). He was the the former women’s coach at the University of Washington. He liked my work ethic during our lessons and hired me to string rackets and sell tennis merchandise at his shop.

The summer after I started playing I helped him run a summer junior camp. I moved to attend school at WWU and got a job at the local tennis club stringing rackets and booking courts. Eventually I became certified as a tennis instructor to teach at that club during college. After graduating I wanted to stay with tennis, but as a coach. I discovered PBI and made it though their rigorous interview and 450 hour training program. During my training I worked with an ATP and WTA coach for a month while we trained some of the top ITF junior players coming to play in the prestigious Easter Bowl tennis tournament.

After training I was sent to Carmel California to the Carmel Valley Ranch where I was Head Pro. I loved being there with the pros and our company President, Peter Burwash. Peter is a great mentor to me and has accelerated my professionalism. I appreciate his trust.

Together we worked with amazing players, including several top juniors I was coaching. After CVR I became Director of Tennis at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay in California.

I also worked at the Four Seasons in Costa Rica and in Punta Mita Mexico for holiday seasons. I then became the Executive Junior Tennis Director at the Willingdon Sports Club in Mumbai, India, from October 2010 to Aprrl 2011.

I am now director of tennis at Thanyapura.

Any memorable matches you have played in or been coach for?

Many memorable matches but it’s always the ones you lose that you learn from most. Winning is such a fleeting moment. Two that stick out. I had to play my best friend in the quarter finals of an open tournament. I had never beaten him. With a swollen shoulder and ankle I lost to him 6-4, 6-4. I only lost by four points but it will be my most memorable because I fought hard, pushed my injuries aside and used my tactical skills to push the match when I could have defaulted.

The other memorable match was with a 14yr old boy I was coaching. He was a top 50 player in the US and after traveling with him to many tournaments in sketchy rural areas he made it to the semifinals of a big tournament. He lost to his opponent and disregarded the strategy we had agreed upon, which was not to hit hard and flat from the baseline because that’s what his opponent liked.

We agreed that he would use his more crafty skills to lure the player into running and defending because he was a big kid. After this match he and I began to develop more trust and he ended up being a top 20 player in the US after all was said and done.

What are your hopes for Tennis in Phuket?

The hope for tennis in Phuket is to run a successful program at Thanyapura. Our goal is to satisfy the needs of our members as far as lessons and programming goes. I want tennis to be one of the social hubs of the club. The hope for junior tennis is for the kids to learn how to enjoy tennis first and have fun. From there we will get avid players that are thinking of a competitive future in the game. Obviously I will be hunting for talent but it has to be the child that wants it first.

Have you seen any future talents so far in Phuket?

Loads of talent already. We have several players that can become very talented in the game if they wanted to be. I am really impressed with the athleticism of all the kids. We had several kids that had never touched a racket at the beginning of the month and now they are already playing points. It’s one of the fastest progressions I’ve seen. The children of athletic parents are the ones I’m keeping my eye out for.

How important are tennis acadamies for the sport?

Crucial for the growth of the game. Sadly there are only a few good tennis academies out there in the world. The academy environment is key because of the element of competition. For juniors playing tennis, they not only need to train hard but they must learn a variety of subjects from stroke production to strategy as well as basic knowledge of the game. The big thing, though, is to compete against their peers. For a future professional athlete this is vital to their mindset.

Any plans for competitions here?

Loads of plans. We already have two ITF tournaments on the books and plan to have several local tournaments during the year.

When did you arrive in Phuket?

I arrived in Phuket on July 1st with my wife Kelsey.

What do you think of Phuket so far?

We came to Phuket in April this year to see the site and fell in love with Phuket. We love Thai people and dig their laid back style. Thai food is our absolute favorite, so it’s a treat to get into the local street markets. Thanyapura is such a huge highlight, though when I go to work I feel like a kid going to the playground. It’s so cool to be in an environment like Thayapura’s because it’s really a haven for athletes and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned.

For more information on Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club’s tennis academy visit: — Neil Quail

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Phuket

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter

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Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | The Thaiger

The Soi Dog Foundation has officially opened its Humane Education Centre, the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to the welfare of stray animals. The centre, located at the Soi Dog shelter in northern Phuket, forms part of the foundation’s Humane Education program. Rolled out in 2017, the program sees a team visit Thai schools to teach the next generation the basic principles of animal welfare and promote empathetic attitudes towards both owned pets and free-roaming strays.

The program has reached a total of 15,058 students and 861 teachers to date. With a dedicated classroom as well as educational tools and resources now on site at the shelter, Soi Dog will be able to expand the programme and reach an even greater number of young minds.

Co-founder and president of Soi Dog Foundation International John Dalley said, “The cornerstones of what we do – what I believe very firmly are the answers to the stray dog problem throughout Asia – are large-scale sterilisation of stray dogs and cats and education of, particularly, the next generation.

“We see all the time the problems that are being caused through us not respecting the environment and not respecting the other animals with whom we share this planet. That’s why education is so important.”

John also thanked the supporters and donors who made the construction of the centre possible. After cutting the ribbon, the students filed into the brand-new facility for the very first on-site class – a fun and interactive hour of roleplaying, brainstorming and problem solving.

Humane Education Manager Nuttawut “Film” Kumngern. said… “We want to encourage kindness toward animals, especially free-roaming dogs and cats, and teach youngsters to be responsible pet owners. This will sustainably reduce animal cruelty and pet abandonment.”

“We hope to one day see animal welfare incorporated into the curriculum in Thai schools, and our education centre is a great start.”

Soi Dog is ready to welcome school groups from Phuket and other provinces to the centre which can accommodate up to 40 students at any one time. Schools interested in participating are encouraged to email film@soidog.org

Phuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The ThaigerPhuket's Soi Dog Foundation opens Humane Education Centre at Mai Khao shelter | News by The Thaiger

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International Schools

Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket

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Police have yet to investigate illegal hiring of foreign teachers at international school in Phuket | The Thaiger

Chalong police in Phuket say they have yet to start investigating the illegal hiring of foreign teachers at an international school in Rawai, south of the island. Palm House International School allegedly hired foreign teachers illegally in which 2 were arrested by Phuket Immigration police on November 4.

Somkiet Sarasin, the leading investigator of the case, says the 2 Brits were informed that police were processing a charge of working illegally in the country against them, in which both denied the charges. Somkiet says the 2 were released on bail, but did not confirm the amount of bail that was set by the police.

“They are still staying in Thailand. I am not worried. I have their passports. I am not available to explain [any details] because the investigation is still ongoing.”

“This is normal for an investigation when the suspects deny the charge against them. I have to check more information against their claims. This case will probably be concluded next month.”

However, the investigation has yet to begin, with Somkiet saying he has not even questioned the owner of the school, despite his claims the case would be finished next month.

“The investigation into the school will take time. The investigation into the two British people must be finished first.”

Such allegations of foreign teachers working illegally have recently been in the news after Sarasas Witaed Sainoi Pitiyakarn School, in the central province of Nonthaburi, saw 7 foreign teachers probed for being hired illegally. That school, along with others in its private network, made nationwide news after CCTV caught a Thai teacher hitting, pushing and dragging a young student in the classroom. Such widespread violence against students has long been a sad component of many Thai schools, in which some of the teachers are unqualified and unlicensed to teach, but are hired anyway.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Tourism

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend

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Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | The Thaiger

The Tourism Authority of Thailand says that Phuket has received a much-needed 300 million baht boost over the 4 day long weekend with around 54,000 tourists flocking to the island from last Thursday through to yesterday.

Phuket Office Director Nanthasiri Ronnasiri, reports that the average expenditure per visitor was about 5,500 baht, which was higher than the average spend for a Thai tourist to Phuket 2 years ago. She also noted that random checks on hotels showed that occupancy rates climbed to about 35%, with most guests staying 2 nights. But most of Phuket’s hotels remain closed.

Nanthasiri also says that many of the tourists concentrated themselves in the Phuket Old Town area, especially around Thalang Road, Phang Nga Road, and Dibuk Road in order to enjoy at the Sino-Portuguese shophouse architecture and historical locations. In fact much of Phuket Town, including its many markets and alley eateries, were doing roaring business, The Thaiger can vouch for the heavy traffic, on the roads and footpaths, over the past 4 days.

“This special holiday made Phuket tourism livelier, even though it was not as same as the situation before the Covid-19 pandemic.”

In fact, despite the welcome surge of visitors, it was still a long, long way from its previous tourist levels with much of the west coast, which has largely catered for the international tourist traffic, was still very quiet in places like Patong, Kata and Karon.

Phuket wasnt the only destination that has profited off of the long weekend as Chiang Mai saw droves of Thai tourists visiting its Royal Park Rajapruek as well as the northern city’s other nearby national parks and tourist areas. Visitors came from all over to see the blossoming of flowers in a beautiful display at the park as well as enjoying the air-purifying flowers as they relaxed. Tourists were able to rent a bicycle for 60 baht if they wanted to exercise while taking in the scenery and could also pay a visit to the orchid greenhouse, which hosts a variety of orchids in bloom. TripAdvisor recommends to set aside 2 hours to visit the park.

Next holiday weekend, on November 27 and 28, Pattaya is expected to get a tourism boost as its annual fireworks festivalis set to bring in travellers who have taken advantage of package deals offered by some beachside hotels. Such packages were offered for advance bookings, where holidaymakers could view the firework shows on the rooftops of their hotels. The firework displays are said to be long with breaks of entertainment-packed shows, featuring live music and student bands amongst others.

Phuket sees 300 million baht boost over long holiday weekend | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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